One of the rewards of writing these posts is that in the process I come across all kinds of interesting tidbits of information.
How about the following? Over time this species has had about 40 different names. That in itself is rather peculiar, but it becomes almost unbelievable when you learn that 32 of them were given by one and the same botanist (the famous Louisa Bolus). And don’t forget: this was long before the modern exhortation “Publish or perish”.
The plants are annual or biennial, depending on the availability of water, and can become up to 1 m across and 60 cm tall.
The leaves may be as much as 25 cm long and 10 cm wide.
The flowers are white to pink or pale salmon and up to 5.5 cm in diameter. They appear from late spring to early summer (September-December).
One often comes across the plants growing in disturbed sandy or loamy places, incl. roadsides. The distribution area is extensive, from Angola to Worcester in the southwest and Cradock in the southeast.
The species is often confused with M. crystallinum, but there the flowers are much smaller.
Today’s pictures give you a general idea of the plant. In the next post we will go more into details.